Chances are you’ll be looking for just the right gift for the special love(s) in your life … spouse, partner, parent, best friend, your favorite pet, and so on.

If you happen to be a multi-channel seller like me, prepping for the holiday is suddenly quite different, and with a significantly shorter timeline.

Yes, I have stores on eBay and Etsy, and sell on Amazon. There are special criteria to create an Amazon store, and I don’t meet those.

Anyway …

Etsy is definitely the easiest to post on — take a couple pics, write a few lines, set a price, voila, it’s up. And it stays up until the inventory is sold out. For a monthly fee per listing, of course. For me, that seems to be $0.20/item. Meaning you “lose” $1 of profit every five months the item hasn’t sold. And if you have listings, you automatically have a store page.

eBay is also fairly simple, but it helps to have a store, which requires a monthly investment (mine’s $28). Plus the listings may need some baby-sitting because auctions get more traffic than store items, meaning prices, pictures, and verbiage (usually) need to be reviewed and updated every 7-30 days. In other words, ya gotta fix whatever made yours not sell. So there’s the store fees (regardless of whether anything’s sold, or even listed), listing fees (per listing created, which are the same whether it’s a 1 day auction or an on-going buy-it-now), and selling fees (percentage based on type of item and selling price).

Then there’s Amazon. There are so many ways to sell on this platform it boggles my mind. You can write a Kindle book. Or a physical book. Or list just about anything with a standardized UPC (not store specific), such as a used book or collectible toy.

But … do you wanna ship it? Or have Amazon do the fulfillment (store, pick, Pack, and ship) for you? And some things can only be fulfilled by Amazon (fba), such as used board games. But there are no auctions, so the listing stays up until your inventory is gone, thank goodness. There are monthly storage fees for fba or to have  real storefront, but otherwise, the listings are free until the item is sold.

And then the whole who gets how much practically requires a Masters of Sorcery in Amazon Selling to figure out. You get a shipping reimbursement, even if it’s sold FBA. There’s the fee based on the selling price. And the FBA storage which is calculated by the dimensions and weight, and are charged monthly. Plus whoever is going to shrinkwrap and label it for warehouse placement and picking, which is another fee if you’re going have Amazon do it.

So how does this all work?

Let’s say I want to sell some vintage jewelry. That can go one any of the three sites. Etsy because the item is over 20 years old, eBay because, well, it’s eBay, and Amazon.

Note: all timeframes below are in business days, meaning Saturday and Sunday don’t count.

So if I want this item available in time for valentines, we have to allow for two days shipping, and two more for fulfillment for all sites (usually). So basically one week.

Unless it needs an exception (no UPC) to be sold through Amazon … then add three days. So add another week.

Or if it has to be FBA, in which case add a week or so to get to the Amazon warehouse, and another few days to process, and then a day or two, for the listing to have inventory. So basically one to three weeks.

Suddenly, I realize that all my Valentine inventory pretty much has to be listed no later than January 14th, which is today.

And I haven’t listed anything new since the Christmas rush.

Time to get on it!